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THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 6 - Verse 17

Verse 17. Wherefore. Since you are a peculiar people. Since God, the holy and blessed God, dwells with you and among you.

Come out from among them. That is, from among idolaters and unbelievers; from a gay and vicious world. These words are taken, by a slight change, from Isa 52:11. They are there applied to the Jews in Babylon, and are a solemn call which God makes on them to leave the place of their exile, to come out from among the idolaters of that city, and return to their own land. See Barnes "Isa 52:11".

Babylon, in the Scriptures, is the emblem of whatever is proud, arrogant, wicked, and opposed to God; and Paul, therefore, applies the words here with great beauty and force to illustrate the duty of Christians in separating themselves from a vain, idolatrous, and wicked world.

And be ye separate. Separate from the world, and all its corrupting influences.

Saith the Lord. See Isa 52:11. Paul does not use this language as if it had original reference to Christians, but he applies it as containing an important principle that was applicable to the case which he was considering, or as language that would appropriately express the idea which he wished to convey. The language of the Old Testament is often used in this manner by the writers of the New.

And touch not the unclean thing. In Isaiah, "touch no unclean thing;" that is, they were to be pure, and to have no connexion with idolatry in any of its forms. So Christians were to avoid all unholy contact with a vain and polluted world. The sense is, "Have no close connexion with an idolater, or an unholy person. Be pure; and feel that you belong to a community that is under its own laws, and that is to be distinguished in moral purity from all the rest of the world."

And I will receive you. That is, I will receive and recognize you as my friends and my adopted children. This could not be done until they were separated from an idolatrous and wicked world. The fact of their being received by God, and recognized as his children, depended on their coming out from the world. These words, with the verse following, though used evidently somewhat in the form of a quotation, yet are not to be found in any single place in the Old Testament. In 2 Sa 7:14, God says of Solomon, "I will be his Father, and he shall be my son." In Jer 31:9, God says, "For I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born." It is probable that Paul had such passages in his eye, yet he doubtless designed rather to express the general sense of the promises of the Old Testament than to quote any single passage. Or why may it not be that we should regard Paul here himself as speaking as an inspired man directly, and making a promise then first communicated immediately from the Lord? Paul was inspired as well as the prophets; and it may be that he meant to communicate a promise directly from God. Grotius supposes that it was not taken from any particular place in the Old Testament, but was a part of a hymn that was in use among the Hebrews.

{c} "come out from" Isa 52:11; 2 Co 7:1; Re 18:4

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